Cooking with wood is nothing new. In fact, this practice goes back thousands of years. Yet, many people have gotten away from this style of cooking because of modern gas and electric cooking appliances. However, when you use many of today’s cooking methods something is lost in the process. Let’s look back at the history of wood burning ovens and explore their importance in 21st Century cooking.
In the Ground
Some of the first cooking ovens were simply pits dug into the ground over 220 centuries ago. This provided an effective means for insulating and transferring the heat from burning wood. The earth type oven eventually gave way to clay ovens of ancient Greece where the art of making bread was perfected. Yes, all the breads you enjoy today originally came from wood burning ovens.
The ancient Greeks also utilized portable ovens and they used different type ovens depending on the kind of bread they cooked. In Egypt, bread was baked in ovens made from rock and eventually they became so widespread that nearly all households had one.
Brick ovens have been around for a long time also, as they were uncovered in the unearthing of ancient Pompeii. About 5000 BC, the forerunner of today’s modern pizza came into being. The Greeks made plakous, which was flat bread that sometimes had various toppings.
Cooking methods eventually evolved to wood cook stoves and in the 20th Century gave way to modern gas and electric ovens. However, many people are rediscovering wood burning ovens as manufacturers are creating high quality portable pizza ovens which burn wood for fuel. These ovens can be used to create perfect pizza and a number of dishes. They also can provide the textures and tastes of brick ovens, thanks to special stone inserts.